An anonymous reader writes "Speaking at the MIT Emerging Technology Conference, Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie explained that he sees the industry evolving into 'spatial computing,' and he envisions a 3-D virtual world populated by virtual presences, using a combination of client and cloud services. 'In a few months, the compay plans to test a new virtual reception assistant in some of its campus buildings. The assistant, which takes the form of an avatar, helps schedule shuttle reservations to get people to various locations across the 10-million-square-foot Redmond, Wash., campus. The system includes array microphones and natural language processing by which the avatar listens to the subjects and then interacts with them in real time. The system has been programmed to differentiate people by their clothing. Someone in a suit, for instance, would more likely be a visitor and not a potential shuttle rider.'"